PNE Targets Scotland in 591-Megawatt U.K. Wind-Energy PushLouise Downing
PNE Wind U.K., a unit of Germany’s PNE Wind AG, said Scotland will be its focus as it develops as much as 591 megawatts of onshore wind farms in Britain, enough to power about 260,000 homes.
All but one of its sites are in Scotland, where acquiring permits can be swifter than elsewhere, Managing Director George Mager said in a telephone interview.
“Planning consent and the time it takes to get planning consent is a key issue,” Mager said, citing the visual impact of wind farms as one obstacle. The Scottish government, which is “very supportive” of land-based wind, is working to help local authorities process applications more quickly, he said.
Scotland has promoted wind energy as it seeks to get all of its power from renewables by 2020, up from about 35 percent now. In England, onshore wind farms have caused controversy after about 100 Conservative Party lawmakers lobbied Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 to cut subsidies for such projects, saying they’re an intermittent power source that blight the landscape.
Of the 591 megawatts, PNE has submitted planning applications for four farms totaling 120 megawatts, while the rest are yet to be submitted for consent, Mager said. In addition, the Forestry Commission in Scotland has awarded the company exclusive rights to develop 100 to 200 megawatts over the next five years.
PNE Wind U.K., based in Edinburgh, is only looking at one site south of the border, in Northumberland, according to Mager.